On January 11, 2001, three plaintiffs filed a class action civil rights lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the for the District of Connecticut, challenging the policies, practices, and customs concerning the use of strip searches and visual body cavity searches of ...
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On January 11, 2001, three plaintiffs filed a class action civil rights lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the for the District of Connecticut, challenging the policies, practices, and customs concerning the use of strip searches and visual body cavity searches of detainees at the New Haven Community Correctional Center in New Haven, Connecticut ("NHCCC"). Plaintiffs alleged that were arrested for "minor" civil offenses involving nonpayment of child support. One plaintiff was strip searched pursuant to a blanket written policy of the NHCCC requiring that all arrestees undergo strip searches. The other two plaintiffs were strip searched before the written policy was enacted. Plaintiffs alleged that the strip searches violated the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution. They sought class certification, actual and punitive damages, and permanent injunctive relief. The initial complaint was subsequently amended three times. Defendants generally denied the allegations.
After the parties conducted initial discovery, plaintiffs moved for class certification for the limited purpose of seeking injunctive relief as to the challenged the "blanket strip search policy." Plaintiff also filed a motion for partial summary judgment.
In January 2003, the District Court (District Judge Christopher F. Droney) referred the case to Magistrate Judge William I. Garfinkel for settlement purposes. Judge Garfinkel conducted several settlement conferences. While negotiations were ongoing, Judge Droney denied the motion for class certification on March 6, 2003. Foreman v. State of Connecticut, 2003 WL 1056750 (D. Conn. Mar 05, 2003). The District Court the granted plaintiffs' cross-motion for partial summary judgment, but then vacated its order after defendants requested reconsideration. The motion was then denied without prejudice in light of settlement negotiations.
The case was eventually settled and settlement authorized by the Connecticut State Legislature. Magistrate Judge Garfinkel preliminarily approved the Class Action Settlement Agreement on March 16, 2006 and set the matter for a fairness hearing on July 20, 2006. After the hearing, Judge Garfinkel issued an order finally approving the Settlement Agreement, in which the State agreed to pay $2.5 million to settle all class claims. The Court approved attorneys' fees to class counsel in the amount of 1/3 of the settlement proceeds ($833,333.33). No class member would receive in excess of $10,000 under the settlement's terms, except for the three named plaintiffs, who receive $20,000 apiece, in part for surrendering their anonymity to serve as named plaintiffs.
On November 2, 2007, the court entered an order dismissing the case. Dan Dalton - 01/22/2008